Posted: Sept. 30, 2021
A coalition comprised of small businesses, unions, non-profits, and trade organizations has announced the launch of We Are NY Horse Racing, a coalition designed to educate New Yorkers regarding the importance of the sport of horse racing to the New York economy. From downstate labor unions to upstate local restaurants and hotels, We Are NY Horse Racing has garnered statewide support.
The horse acing economy includes farmers, trainers, horse breeders, horse owners, racetrack employees, dozens of labor unions that support racing operations, backstretch workers, veterinarians, and racing officials as well as seasonal and part-time jobs directly tied to big events such as the Belmont Stakes or the annual summer meet at historic Saratoga Race Course. As a driver of tourism both downstate and throughout upstate New York, horse racing is a big business for the hospitality sector at a time when hotels, bars and restaurants continue to face uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The recently concluded 2021 summer meet in Saratoga reported an average daily attendance of more than 26,000.
According to a study published by the American Horse Council in 2018, horse racing in New York State is responsible for 19,000 jobs and more than $3 billion in annual economic impact. In addition, the broader equine industry is New York’s second-largest agribusiness, generating good-paying jobs in every county and corner of the state. The sport of horse racing drives an industry that sustains hundreds of small businesses on and around the 11 racetracks currently in operation in New York.
We Are NY Horse Racing will engage in a number of activities moving forward, including events, paid media and other efforts directly related to educating and informing New Yorkers about the importance of horse racing to the New York economy.
Founding members of the We Are NY Horse Racing Coalition include:
New York State Laborers’ Organizing Fund
Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce
Long Island Contractors Association
New York Farm Bureau
Saratoga Casino and Hotel
NY Racetrack Chaplaincy
District Council 9, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades
DZ Restaurants, Saratoga
The Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau & Suffolk Counties, AFL-CIO
The New York Racing Association
New York Thoroughbred Breeders
Belmont Child Care Association
New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association
Gateway Youth Outreach
Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association
Standardbred Owners Association
Capital Off-Track Betting
Backstretch Employees Service Team
Harness Horse Association of Central New York
Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association
Monticello Harness Horsemen’s Association
Empire State Harness Horsemen’s Alliance
Catskill Off-Track Betting
“The mission of the New York Farm Bureau is to support today’s agricultural needs and create member opportunities for tomorrow, and many of these opportunities are a direct result of the horse racing industry,” said Jeff Williams, Public Policy Director of the New York Farm Bureau. “New York agriculture and horse racing go hand in hand, which is why our organization is pleased to be a part of We Are NY Horse Racing.”
“Saratoga Race Course is an economic engine for upstate New York and a source of great pride for our communities,” said Todd Shimkus, President of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce. “Our member businesses recognize the sport’s direct impact to the local economy, which is why we will take every opportunity to emphasize horse racing’s importance to Saratoga County and New York.”
“Our membership is well aware of the hard work and dedication required to support a successful racing industry in New York,” said Najja Thompson, Executive Director of New York Thoroughbred Breeders. “New York’s horse breeders and farm owners have propelled the sport forward in recent years, and we look forward to contributing our collective voice to this important effort.”
“New York State’s harness racing industry is proud to stand together with our Thoroughbred colleagues and agricultural stakeholders from all across the state as part of the We are New York Horse Racing Coalition,” said Joseph Faraldo of the Empire State Harness Horsemen’s Alliance. “We look forward to telling our story directly to New Yorkers and decision makers in Albany to highlight the importance of the equine industry in New York.”